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Castro says 'there's still work to do' on Biden Cabinet diversity

Castro says 'there's still work to do' on Biden Cabinet diversity
© Greg Nash

Former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro on Saturday commended President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting MORE on his Cabinet picks thus far, but added that "there's still work to do" with regard to his forthcoming administration's diversity. 

CNN's Ana Cabrera asked Castro if he felt like Latinos were adequately represented in Biden's Cabinet picks thus far, mentioning that the former vice president has chosen California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraNew Alzheimer's drug sparks backlash over FDA, pricing Obama joins Biden to tout record ObamaCare enrollment numbers Biden walks fine line with probe into coronavirus origins MORE to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasDemocrats press ICE, DHS to not re-detain migrants released during pandemic Report: Nearly 4,000 children separated from parents at border under Trump Texas governor to sign bill banning vaccine passports MORE as the next secretary of the Homeland Security Department (DHS).

"Well I mean I think it's a work in progress," Castro responded. 

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"Certainly, Mr. Mayorkas and Attorney General Becerra are talented; they're going to be great additions to the Cabinet. I was glad to see the nomination of Rep. [Marcia] Fudge [D-Ohio] at my old stomping grounds at HUD. At the same time there are many more Cabinet positions that still need to be filled. So I think it's a work in progress" he added.

Biden tapped Fudge to be his nominee to head HUD this week after she was passed over for the role of Agriculture secretary.

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Liberal groups and lawmakers bristled at the former vice president's decision to nominate former secretary of Agriculture Tom Vislack, a white man, to the position after serving in the same role under president Obama. 

Progressive groups and lawmakers including the Sunrise Movement and a coalition of indigenous and progressive groups have also pressed the Biden transition team to nominate Rep. Deb HaalandDeb HaalandRising crime rejuvenates gun control debate on campaign trail It's Congress' turn to stop Arctic Refuge oil drilling Overnight Energy: Biden seeks to reassert US climate leadership | President to 'repeal or replace' Trump decision removing protections for Tongass | Administration proposes its first offshore wind lease sale MORE (D-N.M.) to head the Department of the Interior. 

The groups called on Sen. Tom UdallTom UdallSenate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin Study: Chemical used in paint thinners caused more deaths than EPA identified Oregon senator takes center stage in Democratic filibuster debate MORE (D-N.M.), a contender for the position, on Thursday to drop out of contention. 

Haaland's pick would be historic, as a Native American has never served in a Cabinet position. 

Castro also mentioned this fact during his interview with CNN. "We have not had in our nation's history an appointed Cabinet member who was Native American. We had a vice president who was a member of a tribe, but not a Cabinet member. You know, I think that that should change in 2020. It's long overdue."

When asked whether the Biden-Harris administration reached to Castro for a request to helm a remaining Cabinet position, he declined, noting, "I was very honored to serve President Obama."

"I have no doubt that the team that President-elect Biden assembles ... is going to be super talented," the former HUD secretary said.